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- Apr 2022
More detailed work in the history of reading has cast aside the strict periodization and the suddenness of change implied in the notion of a “reading revolution.”215 Rather than sudden shifts, I trace the development and spread of new methods of reading along-side the continuation of older options. Consultation reading existed among the learned in earlier centuries, and in an unbroken line of transmission at least as far back as the thirteenth century, so the most distinctively new kind of reading in the eighteenth century was not consultation reading but rather engrossment in the novels that were a new and successful genre. Conversely, “intensive reading,” classically identified with repetitive meditation on the Bible, was also practiced in the eighteenth century, in religious circles at least, for example, among Pi-etists, Methodists, and in Catholic religious orders. (Witness the 1786 publica-tion of Sacchini’s recommendation for intensive reading, which I discuss in the next chapter.) Proficient readers engaged in different kinds of reading depending on the text and their purpose in reading it.
Broad forms of reading: - consultation reading - intensive reading (meditation, religious) - entertainment reading (novels)